Mixed reviews and creepy comparisons to Michael Jackson notwithstanding, Tim Burton's splendidly imaginative adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would almost surely meet with Roald Dahl's approval. The celebrat... more »ed author of darkly offbeat children's books vehemently disapproved of 1971's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (hence the change in title), so it's only fitting that Burton and his frequent star/collaborator, Johnny Depp, should have another go, infusing the enigmatic candyman's tale with their own unique brand of imaginative oddity. Depp's pale, androgynous Wonka led some to suspect a partial riff on that most controversial of eternal children, Michael Jackson, but Burton's film is too expansively magnificent to be so narrowly defined. While preserving Dahl's morality tale on the hazards of indulgent excess, Burton's riotous explosion of color provides a wondrous setting for the lessons learned by Charlie Bucket (played by Freddie Highmore, Depp's delightful costar in Finding Neverland), as he and other, less admirable children enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime tour of Wonka's confectionary wonderland. Elaborate visual effects make this an eye-candy overdose (including digitally multiplied Oompa-Loompas, all played by diminutive actor Deep Roy), and the film's underlying weirdness is exaggerated by Depp's admirably risky but ultimately off-putting performance. Of course, none of this stops Burton's Charlie from being the must-own family DVD of 2005's holiday season, perhaps even for those who staunchly defend Gene Wilder's portrayal of Wonka from 34 years earlier. --Jeff Shannon DVD features
The second disc is filled with a number of distinctive featurettes. The likely crowd-pleaser in most households is "Attack of the Squirrels," which recounts how those fuzzy little creatures (a combination of hard-to-train live animals, animatronics, and computer graphics) can be ornery in their own right. "The Fantastic Mr. Dahl" is a 17-minute look at author Roald Dahl through vintage footage and new interviews with family, friends, and colleagues. "Becoming Oompa-Loompa" follows Deep Roy as he is filmed over and over again through his dance steps and music performances. Roy is a constant throughout the kids' activities as well. You can follow him to learn two different dance steps "Augustus Gloop" and "Violet Beauregarde," and make him taste weird candy inventions in a simple game. "Search for the Golden Ticket" is a five-part challenge that tests your remote-control fingers, your deductive abilities, or your luck. Finally, if you just want basic behind-the-scenes information, "Making the Mix" is a collection of featurettes (around 40 minutes total) covering the film's casting, music, production design, and special effects. --David Horiuchi« less
"I once made the comment that most of the entertainment today is in very bad shape. The industries are trying to relive past glories, especially music and movies. Most of the money being made in the music industry is reissues, HDCD releases of well-known titles, delux reissues, legacy reissues, offical releases of bootlegs, greatest hits, and any and all repackaging of classic albums. And they all use well known, classic, big name artists, because they know people will buy it. Because the majority of new CDs, and new artists aren't of any real quality, they have to rely on the old stuff to make money. The same can be said of the movies. It's all sequels, prequels, remakes, and remodels.
Accordingly, I was not thrilled when I heard a new version of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was coming out. When I learned it was a Tim Burton/Danny Elfman/Johnny Depp production, I was less skeptical. When I saw a trailer, I was interested. When I heard Danny Elfman was writing/composing the music AND doing the vocals, I was excited. The collaboration is great, almost to the point of excusing all their pretensiousness and self-absorbtion... enough quibbling. On to the movie!
It holds many of Tim Burton's staples; it is dark, stark, eerie, and filled with the regular unnamable props, but he has allowed joy into the equation. The movie is much better for it. There is rich color, specifically in the factory, to match the rich imagery and funny comparisons of Willy Wonka. Depp is cast perfectly in this role, which is not really apparent unless you see the movie. He is funny, quirky, confused, and innocent; much different than the brilliant, strong character played by Gene Wilder in the original. The children who find the golden tickets and their parents do a great job too. Perhaps my favorite part is the wild card, Danny Elfman. If you don't know WHO Elfman is, you're sure to have heard his music whether in any number of cult classic 80's films (Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Batman 1 & 2), his TV themes (The Simpsons), his musical-esque movies featuring his vocals (Nightmare Before Christmas-- an absolute classic soundtrack), or his 15-plus years of work as the vocalist/writer/guitarist for 80's heavyweight Oingo Boingo. "Charlie" is the 11th time Tim Burton has used Elfman as his composer, and this is arguably their greatest work together (though I prefer "Nightmare Before Christmas").
The movie itself is quite interesting, moving into parts of the Willy Wonka story the orignal movie didn't, relying more on the Ron Dahl book. Note: even the lyrics to the four Oompa-Loompa songs are the lyrics from the novel. We learn that Willy became a chocolateer to spite his father and is forever haunted by this falling out. An eventual redemtion of their relationship serves as a very positive pro-family element. Best of all, it's clean. Nothing negative, offensive, or disturbing is presented, meaning a green light for families and kids; a HUGE plus. The problem of lacking special features is corrected here, but you can save a few dollars if you don't mind a slimmer package. A great, big, fun movie.
Overall: 9 out of 10.
Great, fun movie!!!
Brandon Simpson | 01/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is really good. Several other reviewers are unfairly comparing it to the the 1971 Gene Wilder version, "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory." The Johnny Depp version is actually much closer to the children's book written by Roald Dahl. In fact, Roald Dahl completely hated the Gene Wilder version because the film makers changed everything in his book. One reviewer says that Johnny Depp's portrayal of Willy Wonka was scary and wierd. Well, if you've read the book, you'll know that Willy Wonka is supposed to be scary and wierd.
Brandon Simpson, [...]"
Kyle Grace | 09/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First off, yes, I am a fan of Tim Burton. I even own every one of his movies on DVD (though one or two of them I could live without). But that's not the point. The fact is, I respect his vision as an artist; and his ability to create such surrealistic worlds that are both weird and wonderful are just enough why I idolize him.
Okay, now, some of you may wonder, if this is a direct remake of the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory that starred Gene Wilder. Actually, no, even though it's the same story concept. The only difference is that this film pays more homage to the book (MUCH more homage) and is (of course) AMAZING to look at. The storyline now, is simple enough (because I'm under the impression that a lot of people have seen the original film): Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) is a boy from an impoverished family living under the shadow of a giant chocolate factory, who eventually wins a candy bar contest and is given a tour, along with four other children, of the amazing factory run by the eccentric Willy Wonka and his staff of Oompa-Loompas.
Performance wise, this movie belongs to Johnny Depp and Freddie Highmore, who are able to recreate their chemistry from Finding Neverland. However, quote: "Depp's Wonka is far less cuddly than that of Gene Wilder, playing it more like a demented Mr. Rogers with more than a bit of a sadistic streak. The way that he watches the kids meet their fates with giddy glee is quite disturbing, but it's hard not to enjoy this quirky hermit's complete lack of social skills."-Edward Douglas, [...] (sorry, but the guy explianed it perfectly)Also, I'd like to clear this up out of my system before it does any more damage, but it seems A LOT of ....people are comparing Depp's Wonka w/ a certain pop star so much that it really just sickens me. This assessment can be contradicted however. First reason (and this came from no other than Depp himself): In an interview, Johnny said he had NO INTENTION whatsoever to base his character off of Micheal Jackson. Second reason: Willy Wonka is a recluse, so he's supposed to be strange, weird, crazy, whatever. I mean, the guy shunned himself from society for 15 years so he's going to be pale, out of style/trend, and a bit behind. Also, throughout the movie, we're shown flashbacks of Wonka's past that are used to explain his weirdness. There, end of story. Freddie Highmore's Charlie is more sad than the original one, so much that you'll want to hug him b/c he's so optimistic depsite living such an impoverished lifestyle. Another performance nod goes to Deep Roy, who plays all the Oompa-Loompas w/ such panache. Everyone else is respectable in their performances.
Now, aesthetically, this film is amazing; in fact, this is Burton's most visually striking film to date. He yet again creates such surreal and imaginative landscapes that it's just real eye candy to look at; the factory rooms being the prime example. Some of the wacky machinery used to create candy is just as impressive and actually looks like it could work. Yet, as w/ the original film, this film creates an atmosphere that could unnerve sensitive folks. The boat ride down the chocolate tunnel is not the acid trip that was the original, but rather like an intense roller coaster ride. Also, for those who have seen the original, the four kids who fall to their weaknesses (loosely speaking: gluttony, pride, avarice(that's greed) and sloth) and punished for not heeding warnings are a bit more dangerous (thanks to the evolution of filmmaking) and look fatal, but are not.
Also, another treat in this film is to hear composer Danny Elfman (who has composed pretty much all of Tim Burton's films to date save for Ed Wood, which was scored by Howard Shore) sing again. He sings all the Oompa-Loompa songs provided by the lyrics written in the book with such style that you can't help but tap your feet. For the record, he also sung in Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Well, I believe I covered over everything. Overall, real faithful adaptation that surpasses the original in practically every way (sorry, but...my opinion). Also, the ending is different, both from the book and the original film; but still good. This is also Burton's best film next to Ed Wood and redeems him from his Planet of the Apes remake (what was he thinking w/ that?). Anyways, great film: just as wacky and twisted as you might expect but nonetheless wonderful to look at and as magical as the original.
"...life had never been sweeter."
M. Hart | USA | 01/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When it was first announced that director Tim Burton was filming "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", starring the talented Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka, concerns were raised that it may not be as good as the original 1971 film "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory". However, when the author of the original book, Roald Dahl (1916-1990), upon which both films were based saw the 1971 film, he was so disgusted that he forced the film's producers to rename it to "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory". Though we will never know today how Roald Dahl would have reacted to the Tim Burton's 2005 version, chances are that Roald Dahl would have been far more pleased with the result.
Unlike the 1971 version, the 2005 version both parents of the young Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) are still alive. His mother Mrs. Bucket (Helena Bonham Carter) and his father Mr. Bucket (Noah Taylor) struggle to support their son, as well as each of the aging parents: Grandpa Joe (David Kelly) who had previously worked at Willy Wonka's factory, Grandma Georgina (Liz Smith, who some viewers may recognize as the character Letitia Cropley from the 1994-1996 British sitcom "The Vicar of Dibley"), Grandpa George (David Morris) and Grandma Josephine (Eileen Essell). Unfortunately, things get worse financially for the Buckets when Mr. Bucket is laid off from the toothpaste factory where he had worked; but the announcement of five golden tickets hidden within five Willy Wonka chocolate bars that will grant the winners to a visit to the mysterious chocolate factory sends the world into a frenzy to find them. The lucky children that do find them are Augustus Gloop (Philip Wiegratz) and his mother Mrs. Gloop (Franziska Troegner); Violet Beauregarde (AnnaSophia Robb) and her mother Mrs. Beauregarde (Missi Pyle); Veruca Salt (Julia Winter) and her wealthy father Mr. Salt (James Fox); Mike Teevee (Jordan Fry) and his father Mr. Teevee (Adam Godley); and finally, Charlie Bucket, who is accompanied by Grandpa Joe.
Another interesting aspect that separates this film from the original is the exploration of Willy Wonka's childhood (Little Willy is played by Blair Dunlop). His father, the eminent dentist Dr. Wonka (Christopher Lee), forbids Little Willy from ever eating any candy or chocolate and forces Little Willy into a maniacal headpiece that prevents Little Willy from closing his mouth so that everyone can see the braces on his teeth. However, Little Willy, after going trick-or-treating, finds a piece of chocolate that his father had not completely destroyed. Upon eating it, Little Willy is obsessed with candy and chocolate, which eventually leads to Dr. Wonka abandoning Little Willy. However, Little Willy has big plans and eventually opens his chocolate factory; but when competitors send spies into his factory, he fires all of his workers and eventually replaces them with the oompa-loompas (with the aid of special effects, each oompa-loompa is played by one actor: Deep Roy).
With engaging characters, wonderful songs sung by the oompa-loompas, colorful cinematography, great dialog, superb direction and brilliant acting, I rate the 2005 "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" with a resounding 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it to everyone. "
Strange but delicious
Matt | NJ | 12/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I loved this movie as a child. It had a magical aura about it, with all of the crazy creations in the factory and the eccentric and fascinating Mr. Wonka.
This version is a good modern-day representation of the movie. The sets are outstanding and creatively done. The Oompa Loompas are slightly more disturbing in this version (which may have something to do with the fact that they're all played by a single actor), but they're entertaining. There is a slight twist in plot in this version, as you get to delve a bit more deeply into Willy Wonka's childhood, but I feel it works within the story.
This movie certainly has the Tim Burton stamp on it. Even if you didn't know he was the director, you would be able to draw similarities between the feel of this movie and his others such as Edward Scissorhands. It's worth a watch."